The Hutt River Principality previously known as Hutt River Province, is Australia's oldest micronation. It has claimed to be an independent sovereign state since its foundation, but has never been formally acknowledged by the Commonwealth of Australia or any other international entity.
The principality was founded on 21 April, 1970 by Leonard George Casley (born 28 August 1925), when he and his associates proclaimed their secession from the state of Western Australia. Casley now styles himself "His Royal Highness Prince Leonard I".
The government of Western Australia determined they could do nothing without the intervention of the Commonwealth however, the Governor General of Australia, Sir Paul Hasluck stated that it was unconstitutional for the Commonwealth to intervene in the secession. In correspondence with the Governor General's Department, Mr Casley was addressed as the Administrator of the Hutt River Province which, under the application of Royal Prerogative, made this recognition binding on all Courts. The Australian Government's official current position on the Principality is that it is nothing more than a private enterprise operating under a business name.
In the early 1980s Hutt River Province declared itself to be a kingdom, but soon afterwards reverted to its original status of a principality. The principality proceeded to release a veritable flood of stamp and coin issues.
In September 2006 Prince Leonard decided to officially change the name to "Principality of Hutt River" and dropping the word "Province".
|Value||Technical parameters||Description||Date of first minting|
|5c||16.5 mm||Aluminium||Plain||Prince Leonard||Coat of arms||1976|
|$30||38.1 mm||999‰ silver||Reeded|
|$100||25 mm||24 carat gold||Plain|
In 1977 $1 coins were struck to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II. These coins are known as 'Holey dollars', which is a nickname that is applied to the extremely rare New South Wales 5/- coin and to the Prince Edward Island 5/- piece as well, which were cut and counterstamped from Spanish-American Pieces of Eight (8 Reales).
Coins of the same design were struck again in 1978, without the inscription "QUEEN'S JUBILEE".
Although actual residents are very few, the principality claims a world-wide citizenry of 13,000.
It has no standing army, but a number of its citizens have been awarded military commissions, honorary guardsmen attend the Prince on formal occasions, and despite being completely landlocked, it apparently possesses a navy - at least naval commissions have been conferred on supporters of the Principality.
It is governed by its founder Prince Leonard and his family, including his wife Princess Shirley and son and heir Crown Prince Ian.
Since 2 September 2004, Hutt River Province Principality has had the authority to accept company registrations. At least one company experienced in the registration of entities in traditional offshore jurisdictions (British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands etc.) as tax havens has been authorised to act as a registered agent for HRP incorporations. A variety of Licenses are also available. No Australian resident is allowed to take advantage of this legislation.
Hutt River also allows car registrations, including issuing of licence plates to overseas vehicles.
The Principality has only one settlement, called Nain which is named after a small settlement in Galilee that has a similar landscape and building layout.
Prince Leonard pursued a number of occupations before purchasing a large wheat farm near Geraldton, Western Australia in the 1960s. In 1970, after a long-running dispute over quotas with the Australian Wheat Board, he declared the "secession" of his 75 square kilometre property from the Commonwealth of Australia, based on his unique interpretation of British and Australian constitutional law.
Despite his advancing years the Prince is known as a keen-minded "bush lawyer". He is also an adherent of hermeticism, a subject on which he has privately published a number of research papers. Casley is married to "Her Serene Highness Princess Shirley" (née Shirley Butler), by whom he has seven adult children, among them "His Royal Highness Crown Prince Ian" (Ian George Casley, born 1947), who has been designated as his eventual successor as "Sovereign Prince".
Many Australians are somewhat familiar with the Principality of Hutt River and know of "Prince Leonard". Some Australians view him affectionately as a harmless eccentric and view his tenacity in taking on "big government" with wry amusement, while others believe him to be looking for a fight where none exists. He is the subject of a permanent exhibit at the National Museum of Australia, in Canberra, an exhibit that acknowledges the fact that the Principality of Hutt River has successfully seceded from the Commonwealth of Australia.
To celebrate the 60th wedding anniversary of the Prince and Princess, HRP released new coins to celebrate the event. This was the first new coinage minted since 2000. There was a number of awards given at the event. European Television crews visited the Principality to film the celebrations and formalities, held Easter 2007.